School to reopen after threat

Associated Press

NEW BEDFORD, Mass. — Police said Sunday night it was safe to open a school where three teen-agers had allegedly plotted to use explosives and guns to kill fellow students.

An all-day search of the sprawling 3,300-student New Bedford High School by 38 police officers and five bomb-sniffing dogs yielded no new evidence of the alleged plot, said police Lt. Richard Spirlet.

"We didn’t think we were going to find anything," Spirlet said. "But we want to put the public at ease."

Police, school officials and faculty members gathered Sunday morning at the school to discuss the events and to confirm it would open as usual today. The suspects were arrested Saturday, and no classes had been canceled because of the alleged plot.

Eric McKeehan, 17, and two juveniles who allegedly modeled themselves after the two students who carried out the Columbine High School massacre in Colorado were scheduled for arraignment today on charges that include conspiracy to murder.

The students were arrested at their homes early Saturday after a school janitor found a letter outlining their alleged plans to detonate explosives in the school and then shoot fleeing students.

Police said the suspects planned to kill themselves when police arrived.

A search of the students’ homes yielded bomb-making instructions, knives, shotgun shells and pictures of the suspects holding what appeared to be handguns.

Two other students, described by police as part of the core of conspirators, were not in custody Sunday, but police had been in contact with them.

The three arrested students face charges of conspiracy to commit murder, conspiracy to commit assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, and possession of ammunition.

McKeehan is being held on $10,000 cash bail. The two juvenile suspects are being held on $5,000 cash bail.

Saturday’s arrests came after an investigation that began when a student alerted police to the alleged plot in mid-October. Police questioned one of the suspects after they discovered bomb-making materials at an undisclosed property the following week.

Police decided to take action after the janitor found the letter on a floor at the high school. The letter didn’t say when the killings would happen, except that it would happen on a Monday.

Copyright ©2001 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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